December 16, 2013

I Made A Monster Of A Chicken Meatloaf!!

Let’s be honest here; it’s winter. This means that we barely go out because it’s either it’s raining or we’re just not in the mood to go out and freeze our ass off. And if we do end up going out, I'm buried under layers and layers of clothing. And after all that by the time I remember to take outfit photos, it’s already dark; by 3pm. Yeah, forget about it. So what I end up doing is cooking and cooking some more. Not because I have to because I genuinely like cooking. I won’t say that it’s what I do to destress or whatever (because seriously, I burn myself constantly while rushing around the kitchen) but I like cooking new things and experimenting.

So this dish came about just because I’ve watched soooo many American high school flicks and they all had meatloaf in one scene or another. So I randomly started googling and whad’ya know I made meatloaf today! And I’m so full! *burps* The first photo doesn’t look too appetising but trust me it was delicious! Omnomnom!

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Okay I would like to say that I followed this recipe to the letter (substituting the meat for chicken) but I really didn’t. Halfway through I started adding my own flair to the dish. So if you want to try my version have a go:

Ingredients

Meatloaf:

1/2 cup Milk

3 slices White Bread

1kg Ground Chicken

1/2 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup Grated Mozarella

1 teaspoon Salt 

1 teaspoon Ground Paprika

1/2 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper

1/2 teaspoon Ground Garlic

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley

2 whole Eggs, Beaten

Sauce:

1/2 cup Ketchup

1 tablespoon Brown Sugar, heaped

1 teaspoon Dry Mustard 

Tabasco To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground chicken, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, Mozarella, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a baking tin. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess and easy cleaning!)

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the loaf. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 35 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Serve with mashed potatoes and Caesar salad. Done!!

***

About the cooking time I’m not too sure so it’s really an estimated and just keep your eyes peeled. Alternatively, if you like a neater meatloaf you can always pop it into a loaf tin and then just bake! ;)

Husband and I are soooo extremely full from our dinner tonight and we have leftovers to boot. Yes; this means no cooking tomorrow! Muahahahahahahahahaha *burps* Excuse me! Haha

♥♥♥

December 12, 2013

Made Gingerbread Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I came across this recipe on one of those nights that I was going through BuzzFeed while nursing Z and I was obsessed. Gingerbread. Check. Cupcakes. Check. Cinnamon. Check. Cream Cheese. Check. All the things that I adore smooshed into one thing, awwww baby! In the days counting down to baking, I slowly gathered all the things that were needed. Today I had everything at home and it was baking time baybeh. Just one thing though, Z refused to go to sleep. Anytime I would put her down, she would start screaming for attention. Usually after nursing Z would have a nap but today she was going down kicking and screaming. At the end, I handed her over to her Daddy and she was out like a light bulb in minutes! Pfffffft!

Somehow, I managed to bake the gingerbread cupcakes to almost perfection. The frosting however, is a whole different story. I think I didn’t beat the butter and frosting until it was completely light and fluffy and the other thing that happened was when I started adding the icing sugar, the whole thing got really watery. And I only added 3 cups of icing sugar because I already found it too sweet. It’s completely shocking that I found something too sweet! But by the time I was making the frosting, Z was awake again and screaming for attention. I made the frosting and chicken curry for dinner at the same time, all the while running in and out to the living room to check on Z. So I guess that could be another reason that the frosting didn’t turn out right.

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Anyways, I found the recipe here, but if you’re too lazy to clickety-click the recipe is below:

*** 

Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 large egg

1/2 cup water

Frosting

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

4 cups (1-pound box) confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 to 2 tablespoons milk, enough to make a spreadable frosting

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 24 small paper brioche cups, and place them on the baking sheet.

2) To make the cupcakes: Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

3) Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, molasses, and egg.

4) Add 1/4 cup of the water to the melted butter mixture, then half the dry mixture, and stir. Add the remaining water and dry mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared brioche cups.

6) Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

7) To make the frosting: Beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.

8) Add the sugar and cinnamon, beating well.

9) Add the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is spreadable.

10) Fill a piping bag with the frosting, and pipe large swirls on top of the cooled cupcakes. Or simply frost by hand.

Yield: 22 to 24 cupcakes in mini brioche paper cups; or 12 standard cupcakes (see tip at left).

Recipe from King Arthur Flour.

***

The batter for the cupcakes looked a lot like batter for bread, which means it was thick and dense. Once baked, the cake was nice and moist even though it was dense as I expected it. I suppose that if I were to make it again, I might just be lazy and stick it into a loaf tin instead of as individual cupcakes. The frosting really got me down because I was hoping for it to be good as well, but oh well better luck next time. Now, should I make gingerbread men? I love them, but I can’t seem to find any in stores which is so weird. If I make them I’ll be the only one eating ‘em because hubs doesn’t like gingerbread men. Aaaaahhh…I’ll think about this and the loopholes tomorrow. 

Okay you guys, I would love to stay and chat sumore but this SuperMama really needs to get some sleep…after having another one of this delicious gingerbread cupcakes!! Yuuuummm!!

December 10, 2013

Z's Childsmile Dental Appointment

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I know right?! For someone with no teeth, this little miss is one busy bee with her first dental appointment today. And yes, I’m totally serious; Z had a dental appointment today with the surgery that husband and I go to. No, we are not anal parents who set up an appointment for our toothless baby; it was the health visitor! *shifty eyes* I swear! *shifty eyes*

We kinda went in not knowing what to expect; maybe the dentist would check Z’s gums and say, 'don’t worry she’ll have teeth soon', or something like that. Instead the dentist kept saying what a small baby she was and questioning why were we there. Ermmm…its for the Childsmile program, and the health visitor arranged the appointment. Which we basically repeated that a few times. In the end the dentist did check Z’s gums and had a laugh at how Z was trying to nom the prodding fingers. And that was about it.

We were given another set of toothbrush and toothpaste (for a baby that has no teeth, go figure!) and an educational CD for Z to watch. The advice that we received; 1. No giving sugar to your child at least until they are three years old so that the child won’t really know what ’sweet’ is (O.O riiiiiiiight...like that will happen), 2. When Z finally has teeth we have to clean it with a cotton pad with a smear of toothpaste and this has to be done after every meal (that has solid food), 3. And to beware of hidden sugars in the food that we give! Wooookeyh!!!

We scheduled Z’s next appointment in 6 months time and hopefully *fingers crossed* that Z has at least one tooth before going in to see the dentist again! LOL

♥♥♥

p/s: Z’s outfit, T-shirt - Zara, Leggings & Socks - Primark, Hairband - gift, and ummm…yeeeeaaaaah we forgot her shoes in the rush out! Hehehe

December 9, 2013

My Pouty Little Ducky

Happy 5 Months, Poop-ie Butt!!

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Today my lil Z is 5 months exactly, adjusted age she would be 4 months. However when I look at how far she’s come since the day she was born, all I have in my heart is awe and amazement, and just heaps and heaps of gratitude to Allah s.w.t.. She is already rolling; even though she releases a warrior like cry when she rolls! Z’s already reaching out, and grabbing for stuff; the no.1 victim is obviously my glasses. And anything and everything that she manages to grab goes straight into her mouth!

And good Lord, we have finally recovered from her immunisations. She had a terrible fever and would cry at everything, yeah even the twins. She would wake up and just scream her lungs out for a few minutes. Nothing would calm her down that husband and I had to take turns soothing her. Thank God the next round will be when she’s 12 months old, ppffffttttt!

Happy 5 Months bubba, Mama loves you heaps!

December 4, 2013

Ignorance Is Totally Bliss

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Ask any baby and they’ll totally agree. That is Z, while waiting for her turn for the third round of immunisations at the clinic this afternoon. Completely unaware and happily blowing bubbles. That right there is her expression before blowing bubbles, pursed lips ready to sputter spit in the cutest manner possible. Obviously it was her daddy holding her while she got the jags, I can’t do it. I was squirming away in my seat just waiting for it to be over. She got two jags today, left and right drumlets got hit and this little miss cried the roof off! *cringe* She cried so much and so loudly that our lovely health visitor said, ‘Oh gosh Zia, you’ll give the other babies the wrong idea!’ *double cringe*

And on my hands right now I have an overly attached, clingy baby who doesn’t want to sleep on her own, or even be put down. So yeah my arms are hurthing from just holding Z in one position. Z is in such a cranky mood that she even screamed (literally high pitched screams) at the twins! Haih, I hate immunisation days. Now all is well that she is a baby and doesn’t know what’s going on, I hate to think how we’re gona get her to the clinic once she’s old enough to know what is actually happening. *double sigh*

Okay, gotta get back to my lil cranky pants now. Wish me luck!

♥♥♥

p/s: I just have to say that I absolutely adore our health visitors, they are the kindest people I’ve ever met and I’m so grateful for all the help they’ve given us. 

December 3, 2013

That Crappy Feeling

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Yesterday afternoon husband decided to take ma and the bubba out to Glasgow Fort for a little look see. It’s a relatively new area with heaps of shopping to be done. They had all the usual suspects; Topshop, Topman, MissSelfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Boots, Costa, Starbucks, and even Cottage Chicken (which is awesome coz it’s Halal!). I got all dressed up but I totally forgot to take my outfit photos and that Z kept pulling on my head scarf, unraveling everything! LOL, total fail! So we spent a couple of hours there doing some window shopping or as I would like to say having a makan hati session because I’m waiting till boxing day to shop. It got dark; all was well, and we headed home. As usual Z would scream her head off for 5-10minutes in the car seat and the promptly fall asleep. All was good. Until we got home...

Z had a long scratch on her right cheek that broke skin. I freaked the hell out. I started checking my fingers, rings, cuffs of my shirt, wondering if I scratched her on accident while trying to calm her down. But nothing. I even checked her teether. Obviously it was impossible for her teether to scratch her, duh Farah, duuuuh!!! I already had this sinking feelling that she had scratched herself but until Z grabbed her Daddy’s face that he went, ‘Yeah, I think she scratched herself’, that I felt like the crappiest Mama ever. In all the mad dash I was doing around the house getting ready to go out, I FORGOT to cut Z’s nails KNOWING that it was long and sharp. Yeah people, I knowingly didn’t cut her nails and she scratched her perfect, chubby little cheek.

I looked at her and felt like crying, even though Z was all chilled out and blowing bubbles. Yeah I know, I overacted. But I still feel pretty horrible about it. And I am usually so anal about things like nails, boogers, and earwax. I do spot checks even on husband okay! So you get where I’m coming from? And the worst part of it all is the fact that I know some people trim the nails of their babies TWICE a week so they won’t scratch themselves. Yeah, TWICE. And I can’t even do once without her scratching herself! Pfffffft!!

It was 10pm but I trimmed her nails on the same night itself because I couldn’t bear waking up to find another scratch on her face. And I guess she did ‘punish’ me by having a massive poop at 4am in the morning while her daddy was in too deep a sleep to wake up for diaper duty!

Even if you do have the biggest poops that I have ever seen, I love you heaps munchkin!

P/s: If anyone was wondering, Z is wearing a Zara dress (present from her Nani-ma) and laying on a kain batik! LOL

P/p/s: Just to make it doubly clear, I KNOW I’m not a bad Mama. Just one who really OVERACTS a bit too much and who might accidentally hurt and offend others.

December 1, 2013

Glasgow Loves Christmas, Yes It Does!

Last Saturday hubs, Z and I headed out to the city centre for the Christmas fair that was already going on in front of St Enoch and St George’s Square. Yeah and it was still only November! Really early right?! Anyways with all the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations up, Glasgow just started looking so much ‘warmer’. And so much less the dreary, wintry cold it is right now; yuck! I just love how the sparkly lights make everything look a whole lot more beautiful, masking all the grime that a city just naturally has.

We took some snaps of the Christmas fair and I thought it would be nice to share it here. I kinda failed in the sharing dept last year what with being pregnant and having nausea almost all the time, pffffft.

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Happy December all! Now I am really on the hunt for more of these Christmassy type events, because hey just because we don’t celebrate it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it right? Right! So be prepared for more of these kinds of posts. Peace out!

♥♥♥

November 28, 2013

Excuse Me Hana Tajima, Can I Please Borrow Your Style?

Sooooo…this is my first outfit photo post pregnancy and post head-scarf wearing, so you guys; please be gentle! I do realise and am very, very aware that I haven’t lost all of my pregnancy weight yet and it’s pretty much a struggle everyday; so really, please be gentle!

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Blazer: Asos, Shirt: River Island, Scarf: H&M, Necklace: Zara, Jeans: GAP, Shoes: Boxfresh

Of course, Z’s stroller just had to be in the picture, sibuk ah! Haha! Anyways, I took a page out of Hana Tajima’s style and just experimented with it for more chest coverage. But by the end of the night I seemed to have lost one of my jarum peniti and almost freaked out thinking that Z might come in contact with it. Luckily nothing happened but I just have to make sure that I am more careful next time with my pins. Eeeeks.

So whadya think? Teehee

♥♥♥

p/s: my face is soooo booooolaaaaat (round)!!!!! Pfffft!!

November 27, 2013

Okay, So I've Started Wearing The Headscarf (Hijab)

I think the title itself should be self explanatory, I started wearing the headscarf. At first I felt like I should probably explain WHY I started wearing it and all, but then I realised I can’t be bothered about explaining it. Wearing the headscarf is a deeply personal thing for each individual. Sometimes you start early because you’re parents encouraged you and sometimes, like me, you take a whole lotta years to do it. But either way, it’s definitely a challenge. I mean wrapping the headscarf itself takes time, patience, and skill (both of which I don’t really have what with a crying baby and all). And you have to make sure that your hair doesn’t sneakily peek out of the scarf is a whole other challenge in itself (which I’m failing terribly at. Tell me what I’m doing wroooooong??). Oh, have I mentioned that I have to also accommodate my glasses as well? Yeah, it’s basically the PhD level of tudung (scarf) wearing! All this plus a baby that doesn’t really recognise her Mama in a headscarf, nice right? *Sigh*

Aaaaaanyways, I’ve fixed my niat (intention) and I am hoping that I can fulfil it to the best of my ability *Insyaallah*. I won’t say that I haven’t changed, but I also won’t say that I’ve turned into the most Islamic, pious, radical human being ever. I’m still me, just a new and improved version; like the iPhones! Yes? No? Bad example? I still like my fashion; I still lust over clothes and jewellery (i.e. material things) but I’m trying to keep it in check. And no, I’m not trying to be a hijabista/hijaber/hijabi (or whatever it is) but I do have to admit that I am strangely more confident after donning the headscarf. But yeah, we’ll see how it goes. 

It’s been quite a few weeks already since I’ve done it and sometimes it feels as though it takes five minutes and it’s perfect and the rest of the times, I am screaming at the tutorials on YouTube. So much for being calmer, eh? There are a lot of things I need to edit and remove but I’ll just get to it slowly, in time. I don’t have loads of time, but in time it’ll all be done. *I hope*

So that’s the news for today! I’ve started wearing the headscarf, deal with it yo! LOL

♥♥♥

November 24, 2013

Si, I've Been Awfully Naughty!

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While my Mumsy was here I took her shopping heaps of time and on one of those days we went into Debenhams where they were having storewide discounts. As Mumsy was shopping, I was walking around the perfume department and stumbled across this little gem; Si by Giorgio Armani. To be honest at the time I bought it it was freshly launched and the I didn’t even know it existed. All I knew was it smelled reeeeaaaaaal gooooood! I sprayed a bit on my wrist and for the next half an hour I was basically walking around with my nose glued to my wrist! Mumsy was the one who basically egged me on to just jump the gun and purchase it! And I’m really so glad that I did.

The perfume itself has a really deep and musky scent but if you were to ask me what I think it smells of, I would say Lychee! Yeah, to me it absolutely smells like lychee and its delicious. I’m generally very much partial to citrusy smells but this smells amazing all day on me. Hahahahahahaha I know such a broad claim, but I swear that husband feels the same way too: that it smells great on me! LOL

But I only bought the smallest bottle because even though I was being naughty I didn’t want to be too naughty! I’m being a real good girl with it too, just spritzing it bit by bit to make sure it doesn’t finish too soon. Yeah, that’s how much I love this perfume!

♥♥♥

November 22, 2013

Yes, I'll Admit It...I'm A Mommy Blogger

Wow….this has been a really long absence from the blog. And really I have no excuse other than life has just really caught up with me. I’m almost always busy with a chore or other and once I’m done I spend as much time I can playing with Z. So far, we’ve survived two rounds of vaccinations; which resulted in the most clingy baby you can imagine, growth spurts which resulted in sleepless nights for Mama, giggles plus heaps and heaps of poop+farts! Oh and I totally forgot to mention, that we are already having subzero weather in Glasgow. As I type, Z is next to me wrapped up in a blanket and so am I! I feel like a caped crusader because I am basically walking around the house wrapped in a blanket.

I know this has been coming but yeah, I should really admit it to myself that ‘Yes, I’m a mummy blogger’. I’ve actually read a whole lot of articles condemning bloggers and what not, saying that mummy bloggers are self rightoues and what not. But hey, I just blog about my life which right now includes my husband and my baby. No judgement from my part. I mean hey, we are all doing the best we can for our kids so I hope I don’t get judged too.

Anyways, this was just for today; a note to say ‘Hello, I’m still alive!’ LOL.

We’ll talk soon!

♥♥♥

November 2, 2013

When Babies Sleep Through The Night...I'm Sorry But, Say What??!!

Yesterday Z was totally the champion of fussy babies. Nothing seem to be right for her; Leo the Lion was boring, nursery rhymes were blah, sitting in the car seat was whatever and Mama trying to prepare dinner was a total joke! Everything made her cry,heck she even was angry at the boobs just staring at them and screaming! She just wanted to be cuddled and kissed and sang to; ‘You are my sunshine’ to be exact. I ended up making dinner carrying her in the Boba Carrier while singing to her, I kid you not. It was pretty nerve wrecking trying to make sure that the oil didn’t spit on her! I gave her a bath (I had to she was smelling like chicken curry!) and by the time I finished dressing her up, she was back to being a fussy lil' ol’ lady. The worst part of it all was the fact that she refused to go to bed. Z would just catnap for 20-25mins then just wake up and continue fussing

She finally, finally went to bed at 12-something a.m.and I of course dove under the covers as soon as she had settled down in her Moses basket.

The next thing I know I could hear Z stirring in her basket and when I opened up my eyes it was light out. Whaaaat? I sleepily asked husband what time it was and he answered, ‘It’s 8 o’clock’. Say what now? Yeap, after the massive fussy episode, she decided to reward the both of us by sleeping all night through! I’m not too sure what this means; is she growing up or was it just a happy accident. Whatever it was it was, I am deliriously happy! I think I’m drunk on sleep!

And to top it off, we had a lovely big breakfast today: chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries, bananas and maple syrup and delicious hot mocha with (skimmed!) whipped cream while Z happily played with Leo in her cot. Trust husband to find the low fat option for everything! Oh and the pancake batter; it’s a mix from the bottle to which we added dark chocolate chips. Fast and delicious but not so pretty looking. Don’t look at me like that, I have an overly attached baby! Ppffffffttt!

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I am just keeping my fingers crossed that Z starts sleeping through the night more regularly….erm….yeah, minus the fussy episodes please! Eeeeks!

Happy weekend y’all and Happy Diwali to those who are celebrating!

♥♥♥

EDIT: 3/11/13 Yeah it was just a happy accident! Z woke me up every couple of hours for feeds last night. *yawns*

October 31, 2013

Scary Zombie Mommy Costume!

Happy Halloween y’all! Tonight’s the night for all the cute/slutty/scary/awesome costume and my timeline is pretty much starting to fill up with ‘em. As for me, I’ll be wearing what’s been my staple costume for a few months now; sleep-deprived-stoned-face-Mama-with-massive-eye-bags.

The how-to:
Step 1: Have a baby
Step 2: Wake up every hour on the hour to feed said baby during growth spurt/feeding frenzy
Results: Pale, crappy skin; massive eye bags; a general zombie-like demeanour
Success!! No makeup needed!!

Just for fun I bought this fancy pasta a few days ago (and it was mind-numbingly cute) and cooked it today. Since the pasta itself is colourful I decided not to make anything with a tomato base as we probably won’t get to see the colours. Light bulb moment and I made Aglio E Olio following this recipe. The pasta itself was alright, not funny tasting because of the colouring but (there’s always a big,fat ‘BUT’) we overcooked it. So after that meal, I was like ‘yech, I really don’t want to see/cook any more pasta!! YECH!!

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Also Happy 16 weeks (4 Months) to my munchkin!
She is finally at 5.1kg (11lbs 5oz)!!!
Alhamdulillah!!!
She was weighed today by the health visitor and I was literally whooping with joy seeing those numbers on the scale. All those late nights are so totally worth it, you guys!

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And now, I’m leaving you with Z’s happy feet. And yes, not only is she ready for Halloween all dressed in orange, she’s also totes ready for ‘Flashdance 2’ auditions! *cue dancing feet*

♥♥♥

p/s: since its getting darker earlier the photos are all a bit yellow/orange-y and I really can’t be bothered to mess around with the settings for now. Live with it yo! :p

October 28, 2013

The Icing On The Cake

Today was a particularly challenging day for me. Z woke up at about 4am and the proceeded to demand feeds almost every hour! I basically woke up feeling and looking like a zombie. But it doesn't stop there, she kept demanding feeds hourly the whole day and when she finally dozed off, she would wake up as soon as I put her in the crib. So yeah, no laundry was done other than our sheets. Thank God that lunch was prepared (i.e. yesterday's leftovers) and I basically ate while nursing Z.

When husband came home he was immediately looking for dinner and of course nothing was ready as Z was still attached to my boob, happily gulping milk away. I quickly made dinner (again thanking God for Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals) and served it to husband. While we were having dinner Z once again started looking for milk. And quickly finishing up I fed her. Passing her to her daddy I finally managed to go to the loo and by the time I finished my prayers, put on clean sheets for the bed, clean up the mess in the kitchen it was already 10.30pm. And all I could think about was bed. The final thing that I wanted to do was to separate the pumpkin puree I made last weekend into bags and freeze it. Turns out the whole bowl was spoilt. And that was the icing on the cake!

I caved and made a hot, chocolatey drink for myself after weeks of discipline. I know I'm complaining but it took me so long to actually make the pumpkin puree. I had to roast the pumpkin, blitz it until it looks like a puree (and I had to do it many times because my blender is tiny), sieve it and cool it. Yeah it took freaking ages!

As for Z nursing every hour, there's really nothing I can do about it. So I'll just chalk this up to a growth spurt (I hope) and hope that it calms down soon. *big fat sigh*

And as I'm typing this, I'm still thinking of bed. *yawns*

*blogged from Nexus7

October 27, 2013

Weekend Bake

This weekend husband and I were on a baking kick; we made biscotti…well just loads and loads of it! We made plain almond biscotti, cranberry and almond biscotti and finally the crown jewel of the biscotti making: chocolate and orange biscotti! And it was just plain delicious. We followed Paul Hollywood's base recipe and then just amended with whatever we had laying at home. Still it was incredibly delicious, so worth all the work that it required. When baking biscotti you are basically glued to the oven watching and waiting for it to turn beautiful and golden and not burn. At the end we got three jars full of beautiful biscotti and a few extras! ;)

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We also tried making pumpkin loaf but unfortunately it wasn't as photogenic as the biscotti. Hopefully the next time I make it (which I definitely will because the loaf though kinda ugly looking was just beautiful to eat) I get it looking right since I've already got the taste down pat. ;) And since we had so much of pumping puree, we tried making homemade pumpkin spice latte. The reviews on that are still kinda mixed. I love the Starbucks one but because we used pumpkin puree (also homemade) we still had the taste of the pumpkin fibres in the latte even after sieving it. So if anyone has any suggestions, please pass it along!
 
Oh and if you were wondering, Z helped us a whole lot with the bang too…by sleeping whenever we were baking! Ah, my clever little girl! :p
 
Okay, gotta rush of because Z is hungry and her MooMoo is preoccupied elsewhere! Eeeeeeeks!!
 
♥♥♥

October 24, 2013

Being A Milking Cow

Oh wait...did I say cow? I actually meant to say 'a breast feeding mom'. Although honestly most of the times I do feel like a MooMoo instead of a Mama! I was prepared for the hard work; come on I was expressing milk like a person obsessed before Z came home so I knew it was hard work. But what I totally was unprepared for was the fact that Z would latch on to me all the time!

The first week we got home she was basically demanding milk every two hours (or less) and of course I was present. But good God it really made me feel like a cow instead of a person! And with Z being so young she was obviously spitting out a lot of milk. Those who say 'there's no point crying over spilt milk' have obviously never breastfed their babies.

I would (and still do sometimes) get so upset at the sheer volumes of milk that Z would spit up. Up to a point that it just finally clicked in my brain that I was overfeeding her and gave her a dummy instead of the boob. Admitting that I give my baby a dummy really makes me feel like a bad Mama but it was the only way to give Z some comfort without her getting full to the brim with milk.

Things are much better now though on terms of Z needing the comfort of the breast all the time. She doesn't even use the dummy as much but her need for cuddles rivals even mine! Yeap, she's switched the boob for hugs and kisses. And if she doesn't get it, its all tears and...well more tears from the muchkin.

But honestly, breastfeeding is a whole lot of determination, motivation, and willingness on a Mama's part. If you've decided to fully breastfeed come hell or high water, you have just got to stick to your guns and do it! It's difficult without a doubt, but at the end of the day it really just depends on how determined you are.

Although if you give in and go the formula route, its totally fine. Like how each baby is different, the same goes for the Moms too. And let me tell you this, being a breastfeeding Mama is a round the clock job. Husband even suggested that we start Z on formula after seeing how sleep deprived and zombified I was in the beginning. But I stuck to my guns and we're three months in and Z is still fully breastfed. Woohoo!!

For now though my goal is to fully breastfeed Z until she's six months old. And then, well we'll figure out the rest as we go along, alright Z?

Mama loves you to bits and pieces, Z!

*blogged from Nexus7

October 21, 2013

The Round Up On Our Gastroschisis Journey

I am writing this roundup post while Z is sleeping in her Moses basket and I patiently wait for her to wake up for her bath.

The last post on Z was written in July and everything has proceeded with the speed of light since. To make it easier lets section it by date, shall we?

29 July 2013: Z was finally deemed ready to start breastfeeding directly from the source. No tubes, no syringes, no cups; no help at all. At that time, she was still getting 16ml of expressed breasrttmilk per hour. And although I was hoping for Z to latch on like a suction cup on her first try, it didn't happen. All the nurses who were there to help me kept reassuring me that just because she has rejected the nipple that time doesn't mean that she won't get it.

30 July 2013: my little girl just got it on the first try! And yes, she was just like a little suction cup! We maintained doing direct feeds twice a day with a couple of hits and misses until the doctors started spacing out her feeds. And then Z just got a hold of it. And while she was still in the common room in the ward, the amount of TPN that she was receiving was slowly decreasing.

4 August 2013: we came in to the news that Z was going off the TPN on that day and replaced with saline for a day or two before the PICC line was removed. Yeap, that pesky PICC line that was on her scalp.

5 August 2013: the PICC line was removed less than 24 hours of her going off the TPN!! It was much earlier than we expected but alhamdulillah nonetheless!! But the worst part was I was asked to help with the process. The nurse asked me to hold Z's head in place while she removed the line and it was a long line. It made me (and still does) weak in the knees to think that, that was going through from her scalp to the region near Z's heart. :(

7 August 2013: I started rooming in with Z at Yorkhill and this was also the day that they removed the NG tube from Z's nose. This was basically a trial run for me as a full time Mama and for them to be completely satisfied with Z's progress before releasing her into the big, bad world with her Mama. And of course I scared myself into a frenzy thinking that I'll be one of those moms who don't hear when their baby is crying and continue being in dream land. I proved myself wrong and woke up at every little squeak and grunt my little one made. And of course, Z was waking up every two hours for feeds and nappy change and boy did she poop a lot! Yeah, no worries here about her being unable to poop!! LOL. At this time Z had only one monitor attached to her which was the heart rate monitor and that thing was a life saver. Instead of me frantically getting up to check if she was breathing (which I still do even now) I could hear the machine clicking softly. That was a tiny bit of comfort while living in a tiny cubicle.

9 August 2013: Because Z was a preemie and a tiny baby at that she had to take a car seat test. It's fairly simple: the nurses will put the baby in the car seat and monitor the pulse and oxygen levels for one hour and if these levels are good and stable, that means the baby passed the test and is ready to go home. The test is to make sure that the baby's lungs are strong enough and do not collapse while in the car seat. Z passed with flying colours even though she was crying off and on because she was hungry and wanted to nip.

10 August 2013: Z got her first bath; which was obviously not from me. It was from one of the lovely nurses Geralynn who gave me a demonstration. Surprisingly Z didn't scream bloody murder while she was getting a bath! That's my girl! We also got to take her out with us for a coffee break (which was like 20 feet from the the hospital) and she was all asleep and lovely in the stroller.

12 August 2013: While still bleary eyed I finally got the news I've been waiting for: Z was ready to go home! The first thing I did after finding out was to text husband! Husband was so happy that he didn't believe it at first. He interrogated me fully before it finally kicked in that his wife and baby are finally coming home to be with him.

All in all Z was in the hospital a grand total of five weeks. Initially when we found out about Z's condition the doctors had warned us about the length of the stay; that it could be between 4-6 weeks before Z was allowed to come home. For us, Z coming home in five weeks being completely healthy was nothing short of a blessing and of course miracle. Although no one really warned us about the emotional toll this whole ordeal would take on us. Of course this has strengthened our relationship as husband and wife but in reality, we were a whole lot of scared for a whole lot of the times.

This is the end of Z's journey. So far we've already had one follow up check up with the doctor and he seems to happy with her progress which means as Z's parents we are doubly happy about it. Every little laugh and smile, every little milestone is something to be celebrated in this lil' ol' house of ours. Yeah and those celebrations includes poopy diapers too! ;)

♥♥♥

October 1, 2013

It's In Her Scalp :(

Ed note: This post was written on 24/7. The next post on Z's gastroschisis should the last post on her stay in the children's hospital so that means it will probably be a long and wordy post. Just bear with me guys! Thank you. xo

***

We went in to see Z in the NICU today (24/7) only to find out that she was moved upstairs, to the ward above. We were shocked. It's been a tiny bit over two weeks so we didn't expect her to move up so fast. Moving up to a different ward means that Z is making progress and is on a great road to full recovery. We were basically overjoyed; but once we got upstairs to see her, we were greeted by this:

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Her PICC Line in her scalp.

I saw her and I almost burst into tears. And coupled by the fact that even Z was crying her lungs out, I almost lost it. Husband kept urging me to pick Z up, but I was scared out of my mind. What's in the photo is her line all fixed up to the fluids; but when we got there it was only attached to a flimsy syringe. So you can imagine my fear of actually messing things up. In the end, husband picked her up and Z finally quieten down. I was basically off and on in tears looking at her today. It doesn't help when the nurse tells you things like, the solution that's going through the lines are quite concentrated and could cause permanent damage to the veins if it was put in through the foot and if it moved. I mean it's on her face, what if that causes damage to her face? Na'uzubillah! Touchwood! It's a freaking scary thought!

Thankfully I have husband; he is the most optimistic person I know and he somehow managed to calm me down. And the most important fact, Z needs this. So, I had to make myself okay with it.

Okay, bright side time: Z's moving up the ward which means in a couple of weeks (maybe less *fingers crossed*) she'll be coming home with us. In this ward, Z also gets to wear clothes, so be prepared for tomorrows post of her dressed up all nice and bright! Oh and we also managed to shave all the hair she had from in the womb.

Three things to be happy about today, not too shabby eh? ;)

p/s: Today; the 24 Jul 2013 was the date that I was to be induced but guess what Z, we're almost hitting the halfway mark to your full recovery. Love you cuddle bug! xo

♥♥♥

September 25, 2013

Her PICC Line

Ed Note: This post was written on 23/7 (almost two months ago!).

***

Considering I was just talking about taking it one day at a time and looking for small victories, today (23/7) was one of those days that I struggled looking for that small victory. We were greeted by the nurse who was all nice and lovely before she dropped a bomb on us. The PICC Line that was in Zia's right arm was removed because her arm was getting puffy; but when they tried inserting the Line through her feet it wouldn't work. The last resort would be to put the Line in through her scalp. Yeah, you read that right; through her scalp!

Just hearing that I immediately teared up, I just couldn't take that picture that was forming in my mind. It was too much for me. I mean I know she needs the Total Parental Nutrition (TPN) and the Lipids that they are giving her via that PICC Line. RIght now however it's in her tiny feet but if that doesn't take or if it gets puffy, it will have to go in through the scalp. I know it seems like I am only focused to the fact that its her scalp but I can't help it. Z is so small, and for such a small baby she is going through what even a grown up would be afraid off. The nurses are amazing though; they are super attentive and they shower her with loads of compliments. It makes me proud when they say that Z was a rockstar at the PICC Line reinsertion but a little bit of me just wants to cry over the fact that she has to even go through that.

*breathe Mama, breathe*

Okay, so the small victory for today was that Z is now up to 5ml per hourly feed. They might actually increase her feeds faster but we don't know when they might actually do that. So yes, today's victory was her feed increasing and that we also did Kangaroo Care again and it was absolutely lovely!

And she had already pooped before I had her out for Kangaroo Care! ;)

♥♥♥

September 21, 2013

Kangaroo Care With Z

This post was written on 22/7.

***

Today (22/7) we finally started Kangaroo Care with Miss Z. Kangaroo Care is where either the Mom or Dad has the baby sitting directly on the chest barring any clothing on. Holding a baby like this not only comforts her it also helps regulate baby's heartbeat and temperature; which for Z was crucial due to not only having surgery but also being a preemie. This method also stimulates breastmilk production especially for Moms whose babies are separated from them; like me.

In the UK, as soon as a baby is born, they will immediately do Kangaroo Care before even clamping the cord. Obviously I didn't get to experience that with Z on the date of her birth but doing it when she was 13 days old was not too bad. Ok I am downplaying it; it was amazing. Obviously this is gona be a wordy post without any photos (shy la and more importantly must tutup aurat please!! ;)). I just had this moment where I was choked up with this immense feeling of being proud of my lil bub. Miss Z has gone through so much in her very very short life and she's doing well today. The squishy lil bub that I gave birth too is now healthy and stable. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that she would do as well as she is doing now.

Of course we did have a fe setbacks when it came to her feedings but slowly and in time it all went well. Z is currently taking 4ml of breast milk per hour (which totals to 12ml every three hours) in addition with her Total Parental Nutrition (TPN). As the amount of breast milk increases, soon the amount of TPN will also decrease. Hmmm…other than that, they are still giving her wash outs and suppositories to get her bowels moving. This means that Z is still not doing any spontaneous poops on her own yet.

Right before I had Z for Kangaroo Care, her nurse had given her a suppository. So when I was happily holding her and kissing her to an inch of her life, Miss Z was happily doing a poo on me! The joys of being a mom right?

But of course, it was Daddy that took care of the dirty nappy while Mama supervised! ;)

♥♥♥

Ed Note: Alhamdulillah, after more than 32 hours Z has finally done her business. Now this Mama can finally breathe in relief! 

September 20, 2013

The First Cuddle

This post was written a day after we got to cuddle Z. At that time Z had already started on breastmilk and was receiving 2ml per hour. Her progress was reviewed daily and if all was good the amount of breastmilk that she would receive would increase by 1ml (daily). She was getting TPN via IV and breatmilk via her naso-gastric (NG) tube.

***

Unlike most new mothers, I didn't get to hold Z as soon as she was born. As soon as she was out of my womb, the baby doctors took her for a quick check up. From there she was taken up to the baby unit for further checkups until they were ready to transfer her to the children's specialist hospital. With everything that was going on around her, we didn't get to hold her at all…..until Day 6, 15 July 2013. She was 6 days old when we first held her. Even writing about it right now gets me overwhelmed and in a state of tears.

Holding a newborn is really an amazing feeling, holding your very own baby is something words can't describe. It felt (and still does) as if my heart is going to burst into a thousand different pieces. It felt as though someone stuck their hand into my chest, removed my heart and just handed it to me; 'Nah, cuddle this!'. All the motherhood cliches that you hear and read, yup its all of that and so much more. And its all true. You can't help it, you just end up gazing at your baby with such love and wonder. Heck, I still can't believe that Z is mine!

Z had started crying while I was stroking her in the incubator; she was hungry. But due to her condition she still couldn't be given milk as a proper feed. And when the teeny tiny bit of milk that we could feed her had finished, she continued crying. I mean obviously, she's hungry thus she cries. It's Baby101. At that point in time I felt like the biggest failure a Mama can ever be. My baby was hungry and I honestly couldn't do anything about it (Oh God, I'm crying as I type, such a wuss!!). In situations like this, you just have to tell yourself (well I told myself) to put on my big girl panties and get on with it. The nurse was the one who asked me if I wanted to hold her and of course I jumped a the chance.

I don't think she knew that we had never held Z before…until that is when I told her. And she immediately went into the 'Awwwww, do you need me to take photos for you?' mode. I was just so thankful to hold that I was again in tears and couldn't stop thanking her. When they gave me Z to hold husband was out so when he came back in to see me holding our bub, he too was almost in tears. And being a good wife and Mama, I shared Z's cuddle time with the hubs! ;)

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Like husband says, it really isn't the ideal background but really who cares as long as we get to hold our baby. And yes, in almost all the photos Z is happily chomping on her fingers. Anak Mama nih! Wait till you get home, I'm gona wrap you up so that you don't get to your fingers at all! :p

It's quite crazy actually how much the both of us are in love with Z. We think about her all the time. We talk about her all the time. When I am stuck at home recuperating from the previous days' hospital visit, I keep watching her videos and looking at all her photos. Yeap, we are 100%, completely smitten with Z.

And yes, we are really looking forward for more cuddles and kisses with Z

♥♥♥

Ed Note: At the current moment (10.35pm, 20/9) Z has not passed motions (in other words pooped) in the last 24 hours and I am a mess of worries. I'm just praying that she does it soon. *prays*

September 17, 2013

Z's Gastroschisis Surgery

First of all big, fat thank you to Elwyn and Katyha. You guys made a hormonal and perpetually covered in spit up Mama really happy. Lots of ♥

***

Once we were in the NICU, husband and I were requested to wait for one of the surgical doctors for all the information that we would need before Z went into surgery. We met with the doctor (who husband swears that he looks like Chris Rock!) and were given a short but loaded with information talk.

The doctor told us that since there was just a tiny bit of bowel left, they wanted to do the surgery to close up the tummy area. Since Z was a preemie, there was a really high chance that after the surgery Z would be hooked up to the ventilator to help her with the basic task of breathing. Due to the nature of Z's sudden arrival, we weren't able to prepare her lungs with the steroid shots for strengthening it. That bit of information right there, rendered the both of us into silence.

The doctor proceeded to tell us that the observation period for Z would be roughly 6 weeks. And forewarned us that not all six weeks would be smooth sailing. With all this in mind, husband and I signed the release forms and Z was off to surgery.

I however had to go home because I was still very much unwell after my c-section and had to rest. At about 4pm husband got a call from the hospital telling him that Z was out of surgery. The best part of it; Z was not on the ventilator! Her lungs were strong enough to carry her through the surgery and after. We couldn't stop saying thanks to the Almighty. It was with His strength and wisdom that Z was doing so well.

Of course with the happy news floating around, I was a bit scared with the sheer amount of drugs that they've pumped into my lil bubba that it might be damaging to her: mentally and physically. Obviously husband told me to stop thinking like a crazy person (easier said than done, methinks!) and to focus on the 'now'.

The next day, (13/7) husband went to Yorkhill alone to see Z while I was under strict orders of bed rest from husband (!!). When husband went in to see Z, the nurses were already slowly lowering down the dosage of morphine and only giving her infant panadol for pain relief. At that time she was still fully on TPN and no breastmilk but I was expressing away like full blown Mama-cow! Better be prepared than sorry right? As for Z's wound it was nicely closed with some fancy-shmancy glue.

The next thing to tackle was to get Z to start on breastmilk and that my friends is a full on uphill battle!

♥♥♥

September 16, 2013

Last Night

Last night husband and I had a long chat; we were talking about the future of this blog. I know this is not the continuation of the gastroschisis post but I really feel like I had to spill it out.

I haven't posted since September first and I know how much this has affected the blog in its general wellbeing-ness. Trust me when I say it's really not for the lack of trying; however by the time I catch up with all the social media sites, Z is usually waking up demanding either a feed or a nappy change, often both. Considering I am breast-feeding my bubba, I am bone tired.

Don't take this the wrong way, I am so grateful that Z is safe, sound and healthy. I am so grateful that I can literally see her growing. But the truth is, as a parent to an infant (Z is awake and crying...ok she stopped, back to the post) there isn't a time when you aren't tired.

So what has this got to do to with the blog? I have started feeling as if I should abandon it. Like maybe I should just delete it and get it over with. This could possibly be just all the extra hormonal mumbo-jumbo happening to me but that is really how I've been feeling lately. Most of the time I feel as if I've just been talking to myself. Isn't that what the internet is? A black hole that just sucks up all sorts of information and only the really lucky ones get some feed back. And really, who am I as a blogger?

After a long talk with husband, and a number of fat tears produced by my tear ducts; husband managed to talk me into giving my blog another chance. So now I have to make sure that I allocate time (even if it's 20 minutes as promised to husband) to actually sit down and write. I used to use my blog as an outlet to express my feelings and now I've stopped doing that. And with all the ups and downs that I'm going through emotionally, I think that might just be a good idea.

I'll be trying to finish Z's gastroschisis story soon so that I can close that chapter of my life and move on to newer and happier things. Although I can't say thank you enough to all who've said a kind word when it was least expected by me.

Thank you so much for reading, whoever you are.

♥♥♥

September 1, 2013

What Happened After Labour

It's been a while since my last update but I can't help it; I've basically been so engrossed with Z and my Mum. Yezzers, Mumsy is here to help me out while we, well, adjust to having Z. And really, thank God for Mom as she's the one doing all the cooking while I'm zonked out tired most of the time. =s So back to Z's story...

****

For the first two days after giving birth, Z and I were in different hospitals. This meant that husband was doing a mad dash between visiting me and Z everyday. I was basically itching to get out of the hospital so that I could finally see Z on my own sweet time. And it happened on Thursday (11/7) that I was discharged. As soon as I was all packed in the car, we drove to Yorkhill to see my cuddle-bug. Yeah I went to see her wearing my jammies and with my post pregnant belly jutting out. But at that time, Z was the only thing on my mind.

Even though I had started walking (it was something I had to do if I wanted to be discharged) but the trek up to the ward was something I couldn't do. I ended up on a wheelchair feeling and probably looking as sick as I probably was. Z was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and in an incubator. At that time the surgeons had already put in the bowels that were out in a silo hanging directly above her tummy. This was to encourage the bowels to slowly, with gravitational help, slip back into the body. Of course, the surgeons would also help it along but pushing it in.

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We have other photos of Z where you can see the silo and the bowels clearly but honestly that photo kinda freaks me out. Not to mention that it makes me sad to see my baby like that. In this last photo she has her hand in a spleen because Z was receiving Total Parental Nutrition (TPN) to help her grow bigger. When Z was born she was only 2.02kg and as it usually happens after birth, her weight dropped a tiny bit.

By that time, I was already expressing breastmilk so that Z would have a ready stock for when the doctors decide that Z should start on milk. I had to hand express the breastmilk and collect it in a syringe because it was only tiny bits of colostrum that was coming out. We met with one of the surgeons and we were expecting Z to undergo the surgery on either Saturday or Sunday. But on Friday (12/7) morning we got a call from Yorkhill calling us in because the surgeons wanted the our consent to do the surgery on Friday itself. It's hard to imagine, my baby was only three days old and she had to undergo surgery. Until today this thought brings tears to our eyes, that our teeny tiny bubba had to undergo surgery. Haih.

I'll do another short post on the surgery next.

♥♥♥

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